With 24/7 news coverage about the Coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks, you may have found yourself thinking about the possibility that you or a loved one might need to be hospitalized. It’s not fun to think about being in a condition where you are unable to speak for yourself or make your own decisions, but that is always a possibility for any of us – even without a global health crisis. If you do end up in the hospital, whether due to COVID-19 or another condition, having an advance directive for health care decisions in place can protect you.
A California Advance Health Care Directive is a legal document that allows you to name someone to be your voice, to speak on your behalf, advocate for your care, and receive information about your condition from the doctors, nurses, and other professionals caring for you. When you create an advance directive, you can limit your agent’s authority. If you choose not to include limits, your health care agent generally will have the authority to consent or refuse diagnostic tests, treatments, and surgical procedures, and make end-of-life decisions including consenting to or withholding artificial nutrition and hydration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and other treatments.
This document can also be used to include information about your health care wishes, to guide your agent in making difficult decisions on your behalf. These health care instructions can help your agent know that they are carrying out and honoring your wishes, should it become necessary to make decisions about treatments to prolong your life. You can also use the advance directive to indicate whether you want to donate organs, tissues, or body parts, and to direct the disposition of your remains. In short, a health care directive can make a difficult time a little bit easier on you and your loved ones.
To schedule a virtual consultation about estate planning documents, including the need to create or update your health care directive, contact us today!